In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s essential to reduce face-to-face contact to protect patients and staff and to minimise the risk of infection. Also as most people are now staying at home we need to rapidly support general practice staff to care for people remotely.
NHSX, NHS England and NHS Improvement are therefore accelerating the deployment and implementation of video consultation solutions.
Many practices already have these tools, and usage has increased rapidly in recent weeks. To support practices that don’t have a video solution in place, the NHSX Information Governance team has confirmed that it is fine for the NHS to use video conferencing tools such as Skype, WhatsApp and Facetime, particularly as a short term measure. NHS Digital has also fast-tracked assurance of video products on the new Digital Care Services Framework (DCS, also known as GPIT Futures). This confirms that practices who use video products through the framework can be confident that they are appropriate and secure. We then put out an invitation to tender last week via the Dynamic Procurement System (DPS) framework. This will provide a list of approved video consultation suppliers that can be immediately called off by commissioners - available from Wednesday 25th March. Products from the DPS and the DCS will be centrally funded.